Susan Wright, Extension Consumer Education and Health Specialist
College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences New Mexico State University. (Print Friendly PDF)
Collars can add a fashionable finishing touch to a variety of garments, with collar style and shapes varying according to the season’s fashion emphasis. Collars may have a square or pointed corners or rounded edges; they may be cut in two pieces, in one piece, or as a part of the body of the garment. Some collars lay flat, some fold close to the neckline, and others stand up. Whatever the style, a collar should frame the wearer’s face, lying smoothly around the neckline, free of pulls, ripples, or wrinkles. The basic construction will be the same for all collars.
Making a Collar
- Cut the collar pieces according to the pattern
guide sheet. To help undercollar stay “under”,
trim the undercollar 1/8" in. smaller
than the upper collar at the center edges near
the neckline see fig. 1).
- Be sure to mark the collar carefully at center
back ( or front), shoulder line, and notches.
Also, carefully mark the bodice neckline at
center back, center front, notches and the
point where the edges of the collar should be
located. If the facing is part of the bodice, be
sure to mark the foldline.
- Apply interfacing to the upper collar. Most
two-piece or folded collars should be interfaced. Fusible or sew-in interfacing of the
appropriate weight should be applied to the
upper collar. Applying interfacing to the upper
collar will prevent the seam allowance
from showing through on the right side of
the finished collar.
Sew-in interfacing be sewn in place when the collar is staystitched. After staystitching the interfacing, trim the interfacing close to the stitching. Trim the interfacing out of corners to reduce bulk (fig. 2).
Fusible interfacing should be applied before the collar is staystitched. Before applying, trim the fusible interfacing to 1/8" seam allowance (fig. 3). Trim the interfacing out of corners to reduce bulk (fig. 4).
- Pin right side of upper collar to right side of
the under collar matching all cut edges.
For a pointed collar, sew the outer edge (fig. 5) then grade and understitch the seam (fig. 6). Fold ends, matching cut edges, sew. Understitch as much of the seam as possible (fig. 7).
For a rounded collar, sew outer edge from center to neckline edge (fig. 8). This will prevent distorting the collar’s shape. Grade the seam and notch the rounded collar where necessary (fig. 9). Understitch as much of seam as possible.
- Press collar carefully so the undercollar is flat and does not roll to the right side.
Attaching the Collar
- Staystitch the neckline edges of the bodice
and facing. Sew the facing shoulder seams
together. Trim the shoulder seams of facing
to 1/4" to reduce bulk (fig. 10).
- Pin, the cut edges of the collar to neckline
edge, matching center back, notches, shoulder
line, and points where collar should end. Clip
the neckline edges as needed to fit (fig. 11).
- Stitch collar to neckline on 5/8" seam.
- Fold the facing over collar and pin matching
notches and other markings. Clip the seam
where necessary. Sew facing in place (fig. 12).
- Grade, clip and understitch seam where necessary
(figs. 13 and 14).
- Press facing in place. Secure the facing at
shoulder seams by hand-tacking or stitching-in-the-ditch (fig. 15).
- Check the points or curves of the collar to
make sure they are the same (fig. 16).
Variations of Collar Applications
- Trim upper seam allowance at neckline to 1/4". Press the seam allowance to wrong side
- Sew the undercollar to upper collar along outside
edge. Grade and understitch the seam.
- Sew the ends of the collar matching folded
edges to 5/8" seamline of collar neckline.
Grade the seams; understitch as much of the
seam as possible.
- Turn collar right side out, press (fig. 17). Pin
the undercollar seam to neckline edge
matching notches, shoulder line and other
markings (fig. 18). Stitch the seam carefully.
Grade the seam (fig. 19).
- Pin the folded edge of the upper collar neckline
over the neckline seam allowance.
Edgestitch through all thickness (fig. 20).
Quick Collar Finish (Partial Facing)
- After finishing the collar, attach it to the
neckline by matching the neckline edges and
notches of collar to neckline edges and
notches of the garment. Sew in place
through all thicknesses (Fig. 21).
- Fold partial facing over collar, matching
notches and other markings. Sew in place
- Grade seam of the faced area only. Zig-zag
stitch or serge the remaining neckline
seam, close to the seamline. Trim close to
- Turn the facing right side out and press carefully.
Pin facing ends in place at shoulder
seams and secure by stitching-in-the-ditch (fig. 23).
- From the right side of the garment, understitch
the neckline/collar seam allowance
from 1" beyond one shoulder to 1" beyond
the other shoulder (fig. 24).
To find more resources for your business, home, or family, visit the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences on the World Wide Web at aces.nmsu.edu.
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New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.
Reprinted and electronically distributed June 2001, Las Cruces, NM.